Bathing your newborn can be a great time to bond and have fun with your newborn. While your newborn will not need a bath every day, make sure to wash your baby’s face, hands and neck, especially in the folds, with a washcloth daily and after feedings. And clean your baby’s diaper area at each diaper change.

Until the umbilical cord falls off and the belly button heals, give your baby sponge baths. After that you can give your baby a tub bath every few days.

Before you begin a bath, make sure you have everything you will need within reach: mild soap, tearless shampoo, a large towel, one or two washcloths, clean clothes, and a diaper.

There are three rules for washing babies; keep them safe, keep them warm, and wash from clean to dirty. Face first, diaper area last.

To keep your baby safe, always check the temperature of the bath water on your wrist before putting your child in it. While bathing, keep one hand on your baby and wash with the other. And never leave your newborn alone in the tub, in the sink or around water.

To keep your baby warm, if you are doing a sponge bath, keep your baby wrapped in a towel while gently washing her. In a tub bath, you can pour cups of warm water on your baby. It is both warm and soothing.

And to clean your baby, first, wash your baby’s eyes and face with a clean washcloth and warm water. Don’t use soap. Then, wash the outside of your baby’s ears. Never put anything in your baby’s ears, not even cotton swabs.

Rinse the washcloth, and then use it with a mild soap to wipe your baby’s neck. Work from top to bottom, cleaning his chest, tummy, underarms, hands and back.

Move to the legs and feet, again washing between all of the folds. Make sure to rinse the soap off.

To clean your daughter’s diaper area, clean from front to back. You may notice a vaginal discharge that is milky or bloody. This is normal, temporary, and does not require treatment.

If your son was circumcised, give him sponge baths until his penis is completely healed. The tip of the penis will appear red for the first few days and you may notice a yellow coating, which is part of the healing process. Do not wipe off the yellow coating. To clean the penis, just rinse with water. Contact your healthcare provider if redness persists, the penis swells, the penis bleeds, or crusted sores appear. These could indicate an infection. Do not pull back the foreskin from an uncircumcised penis, even while bathing.

After your baby’s body is clean, it’s time for a quick shampoo. Wet your newborn’s hair with a damp washcloth. Squeeze a little shampoo into your hand and massage it into his scalp. Use a wet wash cloth to rinse.

Bath time can be upsetting for some newborns, while other babies love the water and find bath time relaxing. Whether your baby enjoys bath time or not, when you’re done, wrap him in a hooded receiving blanket or towel and hold him close. Put a clean diaper on your baby and dress her warmly. After a bath is a great time to cuddle, keeping her warm and cozy.

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